'03 Disco SE
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Clearwater, FL, USA
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Regarding block tightness and "drag" - what you're experiencing is perfectly normal. You will hear a bit of a faint "scraping" noise as you rotate the assembly after installing new rings - they haven't seated yet so there will be some irregularities in the bore that they scrape on. 15 lb/ft is a little on the high side but as long as the rotation is smooth without any drags or binding you should be good.
Did you mic the new bores & pistons to make absolutely sure they were within the required spec? Were the liners properly bored and honed? New liners are usually slightly oversize to allow the builder to fine tune the fit and sometimes need boring. Piston-to-bore clearance should be between .001"-.002". Anything less than that and you could have issues with binding and anything more and you could be dealing with piston slap.
The rear seal installation sounds fine. There is a lip on the block and bearing cap that allows the seal to "bottom out" so the face will be slightly below the block/cap surface.
However, it's bad form to slip the seal over the crank and then tighten the bearing cap over it. For beginners, it could distort the seal itself and cause leaks later down the road, especially if it went in at a slight angle or wasn't perfectly square. The biggest issue however is that the added resistance from the seal could throw off the torque readings as you tighten the main cap, leading to improper bearing crush which could cause them to wear unevenly or even spin at some point.
However, given the fact that you'd have to pull the whole rotating assembly and likely replace the main bearings and seal to correct the issue, it's probably fine to run it as-is. If I was in your situation I would leave it.
Regarding break in - you can't really "prime" an engine without a distributor, so your only option is to pack the oil pump gears with petroleum jelly, make sure you used plenty of assembly lube on the bearings and plenty of cam grease on the cam lobes and lifters. For the first start, make sure you have a fresh filter, a bottle of zinc (break in) additive, and conventional (NOT SYNTHETIC) oil.
I doubt I'm ever going back to synthetic oil with these motors. And certainly not the lighter 10w-30 or 10w-40 weights the manual recommends. Nearly all Rover V8 experts recommend at least 15w-40 or 20w-50 oil, and plenty of it. I think using lighter weight stuff (particularly Mobil 1 synthetics that I'm used to) lead to my accelerated bearing wear.
I'm going to assume you've replaced the camshaft and lifters? Reusing flat tappet lifters and cams is a mistake as they're heavy wear items. If they are new, you have a very small window after startup in which to break them in properly. This means that once the car is started, immediately raise the engine RPM and vary between 2000-2500 RPM every few minutes for 30 minutes to make sure you break the cam in properly. DO NOT LET IT IDLE. The cam is largely splash-lubricated and won't get enough oil in idle which WILL wear it out in no time at all. Also if the engine doesn't start within 10 seconds or less, stop cranking it, find the issue, fix it, and try again. Extended cranking will harm the cam.
After the 30 minute "break in" is up, drain the oil, replace the filter, refill, and go for a test drive. Usually 30-45 minutes is sufficient. Go somewhere where you won't get stuck in traffic or idle and make sure you vary engine RPM constantly. Using the transmission to downshift occasionally will also oppose the rotation of the motor and allow the rings a better chance to seat.
After that, go careful on the throttle for a few hundred miles to make sure nothing is leaking or broken, then drive as you normally would.